Greg Inglis shows his elation after the Rabbitohs' win over the Dragons in last Saturday's NRL semi-final. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP
Greg Inglis shows his elation after the Rabbitohs' win over the Dragons in last Saturday's NRL semi-final. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Durko says beat-up story disrespects Inglis and Cordner

IT IS almost four decades since tennis brat John McEnroe screamed at an umpire the immortalised sporting phrase "you cannot be serious" on the way to winning the first of his three Wimbledon singles titles.

That same line raced through my grey matter during the week when I read that the winning captain from tomorrow night's NRL preliminary final between the Roosters and the Rabbitohs would likely be named Kangaroos skipper.

What a load of rubbish. What a beat-up. And how prejudicial to both captains to suggest their future national captaincy ambitions could rely on one game.

Sure, tonight's grand final qualifier will more than likely tell us much about the respective captains, the Roosters' Boyd Cordner and Rabbitohs' Greg Inglis. And there's little doubt these skippers of the Blues and Maroons in State of Origin 2018 are the most likely candidates to lead Australia in the upcoming October Tests against the Kiwis and Tonga.

But if Test selectors Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley and Darren Lockyer are to choose their captain - the national team leader on and off the field - on the result of this one game, then the decision needs to be taken out of their hands.

It’s Blue vs Maroon for the Gold and Green. (Adam Head)
It’s Blue vs Maroon for the Gold and Green. (Adam Head)

That's why I say it's a beat-up. The winner tomorrow night gets an extra week of footy and the chance to lead his club to a premiership - not another game to push his captaincy credentials.

Besides, surely Inglis is the next Kangaroos skipper - and Cordner will more than likely be his deputy. I'd be stunned if that was not the final verdict, and no doubt both players - irrespective of what they say publicly - would feel the same.

Inglis has the runs on the board. His 259 NRL games, 32 Origins and 39 Tests are credentials that speak for themselves. And while the Maroons may have lost the 2018 Origin series, Inglis was an inspirational skipper in games one and two, before injury ruled him out of the third match.

Not that age should be a deterrent, but Cordner is five years younger and with 144 NRL games, 12 Origins and 16 Tests on his CV he has time on his side to reach that pinnacle of Kangaroos captaincy.

And if anyone needs any more convincing the "whoever wins" theory is a joke, they need only read Big Mal's News Limited column of a couple of day ago. Among his rave review on the evolution of Inglis from star player to leader, the former Test captain and now coach described him as "shining like a diamond" in his role as skipper of the Rabbitohs.

According to Meninga, Inglis no longer sits in the backline waiting for his chance to shine, but actively moves around the field looking for ways to inspire his team.

Yep, that really sounds like a coach who has doubts over who will be his next captain.

Barring injury, Greg Inglis will captain the Kangaroos next month, irrespective of which captain leads his team to victory tonight. Any other suggestion is pure hogwash.

News Corp Australia

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